If you’re working to get stronger and fitter, there are a variety of gyms in the Twin Cities to do so. Whether you’re looking for a strength class in St. Paul or an Uptown gym, here are some of the best fitness classes and best gyms in the Twin Cities and their specialities.
Best Gym for Hardcore Lifters – Los Campeones
If you’re the kind of lifter who revels in dipping their hands in the chalk bowl, and thinks the sounds of metal plates clanging together is roughly equal to a symphony orchestra, then Los Campeones is the place for you. Home to countless local bodybuilders, strongman competitors, and powerlifters, it’s definitely a haven for the hardcore serious lifter.
In both of their locations you’ll find a variety of equipment from treadmills and ellipticals for cardio to weight machines and more dumbbells and free weights than you can shake a foam roller at.
The flip side of all these options is that Los Campeones is like the Home Depot of exercising—they’ve got all the pieces you need but you better bring your own know-how to put the pieces together into something usable. Personal trainers are all independent, so your mileage may vary.
Some people thrive on the competitive environment of jacked athletes carrying their shaker bottles from one piece of equipment to another. That’s not a dig—there’s a reason Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA has produced most of the Olympia winners in history. If that’s the kind of ambiance that drives you, you’re going to be extremely motivated at Los Campeones. If that’s not your cup of tea then it might not be the best gym for you.
Best Gym for Spin Classes – The Firm
The Firm is a Minneapolis fitness institution for good reason. Their high energy classes and progressive, inclusive environment are legendary. The Firm’s eight-week, $2500 body transformation challenge is a popular way for people to kickstart a fitness routine.
Each instructor really seems to bring their personality and background to the classes, which results in a lot of variety and different class experiences. If you’re someone who thrives on the energy and dynamic of a high-energy group class then you’ll appreciate the personalities as well as the wide spectrum of different modalities that The Firm offers.
The Firm also boasts a strong community and is known for being the caboose on the annual Pride parade. They bolster the community with workshops and classes to support your fitness goals.
Best Gym for Kettlebells – Pro Fitness, and Friday Strength
It’s likely that many people don’t know this, but for a long time the Twin Cities were sort of the epicenter of the American kettlebell training world. One of the best and biggest kettlebell training schools was based right here in St. Paul, as a result instructors came from all over to get training education here. Of course, this made it really easy for locals to take advantage of the knowledge and talent, so the Twin Cities has an abundance of great kettlebell-focused gyms.
Two of those original kettlebell gyms are Pro Fitness in Edina and Friday Strength in St. Paul. Both are run by exceptional kettlebell coaches with tremendous experience that are perfect to guide you through the intricacies of kettlebells training.
Kettlebells are really amazing for simultaneously building strength and endurance as well as changing body composition, but they do require attention to detail and technique to use effectively and safely.
When shopping for a kettlebell gym you want to make sure instructors are certified with the major kettlebell organizations such as RKC, StrongFirst, or IKFF (there are also other smaller, but equally valid schools.)
Best Gym for CrossFit – Minneapolis + St. Paul
Here’s the thing about CrossFit. The brand name can be best explained by a comparison to Kleenex. In theory, Kleenex is a specific brand that represents a specific thing with a consistent experience. In reality, if you ask someone for a Kleenex you’re just as likely to get something akin to sandpaper that is going to microplane the skin right off of your nose as you are to get one of those plush lotion-infused numbers that’ll keep your schnoz soft and happy.
As such, it’s smart to put your trust in those who have stood the test of time. CrossFit Minneapolis + St. Paul—owned by the same people regardless of which side of the river you find yourself on—are one of the original CrossFits in the Twin Cities area, and have survived because they’ve taken the good elements of the modality and spackled over the bad with experienced coaches who know how to keep you healthy.
CrossFit is very much not for everyone, and there are aspects of the ideology that make it less than ideal for some people. If you know what you’re looking for and you want the best gym for CrossFit, CrossFit Minneapolis + St. Paul are a good bet.
Best Gym for Families – YMCA
One of the biggest challenges for a family’s fitness routine is what to do with the kids when you’re getting your fitness on. Enlisting a babysitter for two hours three days a week so you can get a workout in just isn’t affordable or realistic for most people. Which is why a place like the YMCA which offers free child care is really hard to beat.
YMCA facilities aren’t going to blow your mind (although the new Dayton Downtown Y is remarkably impressive), but they’ve got all the basics you need in a weight room and cardio equipment. The downside is of course you need to know what you’re doing or you’re looking at investing in personal training which can be a big additional cost.
Best Gym for Functional Training Strength Classes – The Movement Minneapolis
The Movement Minneapolis is the best gym for someone who wants to improve their health and what they’re capable of, regardless of what their starting point looks like, at a price that is extremely affordable.
We’re most interested in what you want to be able to do outside of the gym: hike trails on the weekend, dunk a basketball the park, qualify for the Boston Marathon, get out of back pain, carry all the groceries in one trip—whatever! No matter where you’re starting from, we’re experts at tailoring your workout so that it works perfectly for you.
The Movement circuit workout classes are based on a group, which keeps our monthly membership price affordable, and your program is still individualized to suit your starting point and your goals.
Plus, we can boast about the strength of our community because we’re not the only one who recognizes it. The Movement’s powerlifting team has become known around the state for our size and supportiveness in bringing new people into the sport to try it out. For the past two years, The Movement has hosted and topped the fundraising charts for Pull For Pride, a nationwide charity deadlift contest. The strength of our community shows up in almost every review or mention of the gym.
Contact Us to schedule your free introduction to The Movement strength classes.